Reprinted article by Scott Stewart of The Daily Record.
La Vista – When it’s time for small business owners to hand the keys to someone new, David Bandars is ready to help. He transitions small business owners to retirement and employees to small business ownership.
Bandars offers a big-picture approach to what can otherwise feel like a carousel of professionals offering advice about how to go about selling a small business or becoming a business owner.
As a business broker, he works with sellers to find buyers – not to cash out, but to continue the work being done by the small business.
“We do the same thing that a headhunter does,” he said.
Bandars is the principal and owner of RPR Business Associates Inc., among the area’s oldest business brokerage companies. He said he is careful to find buyers who can be successful and further their companies’ legacies.
“I take great care in matching the buyer with the seller,” he said.
Bandars used to work in insurance and securities, and he trained with a broker when he got into the industry. His roots have informed his approach as a business broker.
“I basically sold my first three businesses right away,” Bandars said. “I was hooked on the industry. I liked it because there was very little competition and the businesses needed to be valued up front, and I was very interested in how to do a proper valuation.”
That interest sparked Bandars to develop a proprietary software tool called BizNestEgg that helps calculate a valuation, reviews deal structure scenarios, tax ramifications, and future income analysis.
The all-in-one approach brings together accounting and personal finance elements, which provides a small business owner a better understanding of what their financial situation would look if they successfully sold their business.
Bandars said he specializes in small businesses, with listings typically between $750,000 and $2.5 million. He’s had listings as high as $9 and $10 million, but he prefers to work with local buyers.
“There are many thousands of businesses in that niche,” he said. “It was difficult at first, but every year it’s gotten easier as those baby boomers have aged.”
Many of his clients are focused on having money for retirement. Bandars said his key insight is to look at different deal structures and how they could affect sellers’ income streams. He said it helps decide when to sell the business and how to make counteroffers.
A change in the deal structure, for example, could create tax savings for the seller while making it easier for the buyer to offer more – creating win-win opportunities.
By doing the analysis upfront, even before listing a business, the client is ready to act, so the deal is more likely to come to fruition.
“The biggest problem in being a business broker is when the deal falls apart at the end,” he said.
The tool also helps Bandars do mediations for known buyers and sellers, such as a father selling his business to a son for a fair price.
Additionally, Bandars offers a small business exit planning service where he’ll write a report on how to get a business ready to sell and what to expect down the road.
Bandars said most of his marketing is through word-of-mouth. He said business brokers often work directly with sellers, especially in strong economies. Buyers reach out to their attorneys, and they’ll often connect them to brokers based on sales listings.
Tom Whitmore, the principal at Whitmore Law Office, said he has referred business to Bandars and happily would do so again.
“We’ve had a good relationship,” Whitmore said.
Because Bandars has different lines of business beyond the traditional broker, he said he can take the time to approach the work the way he believes it should be done.
“I don’t ever have to put pressure on a seller to accept an offer they don’t like,” Bandars said. “I don’t have to push a buyer to do a deal that he won’t be successful at. My bills are going to be paid.”
Patrick J. Straka, an attorney at McGrath | North, has done several deals with Bandars. His firm has worked on transaction documents and loan agreements for clients.
“Dave is really a great partner for the folks that he’s working with – people who are looking to sell or exit their business,” Straka said. “He’s always keeping their interests first, which is refreshing to see sometimes.”
Bandars’ approach is creative, and he solves issues and guides clients effectively, Straka said.
“He makes it easy for them, which again is a nice characteristic to have,” Straka said. “Dave does a great job at what he does, and he puts the clients first.”